To close out our startup analysis, we sat down with lotus823’s managing partners, David and Allison Hernandez, to discuss where the company is going. Sometimes, that’s impossible to tell, particularly in the startup space. As we realized in our earlier questions, the best vision for a content marketing startup is one of openness and preparedness for change. After discussing the future for lotus823, it’s fair to say that change truly is the only constant in the startup world.
How long was it before you moved from the dining room to an office space?
AH: We moved into our first office space three months after launching.
So what was that moment like?
AH: We were so excited. We actually moved into this same building we are in today while our future office was under construction.
DH: Being back in our original building with major milestones behind us is very satisfying. We’ve grown so much since the beginning. Having a larger office space with more personnel feels incredible.
AH: Moving into our second office was exciting, too. We’ve always thought if we’d like it in our home, then it should be in our office. We wanted to make our space feel less like the workplace and more like the comfort of home, so that really contributed to the atmosphere. We installed dimmer switches, bought accent rugs, decorated with fun colors, and of course, always had a stocked refrigerator and cupboards filled with beverages and snacks.
How did you pitch your first clients?
AH: Our first client was Boom Boom Cards. I don’t think they knew they were our first client at the time. David met the owner at a tradeshow.
DH: We liked her product so we stayed in touch. One day I called her and offered our services, and that was it. A lot of our initial business development was based on old-fashioned techniques: networking, tradeshows, and cold calling. I would call the Vice President of a particular company and pitch lotus823. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it did not.
I think it’s a testament to the vision that people signed on because all you had at that point in time was the vision. No track record, right?
DH: Right. A vision and a process.
An idea good enough to get people on board early on.
DH: lotus823 is a company driven by vision, and that vision is always evolving. There’s always a sense of some impending shift, like, “okay, we’re going to shed our skin completely now. We’re going into a chrysalis, and when we emerge, we’re going to be this other thing.” We’re really feeling that right now more than ever before. It will all make complete sense in reverse, but we like to make changes that people scratch their heads about at first. Then, when they adopt our ideas, we’re already on to something else.
Has lotus823 met the initial vision, surpassed it, or is it something else entirely?
DH: In many ways, it has exceeded our plans, at least in terms of timing. We didn’t think we’d be here at this point.
AH: From where we started to where we are today, it has definitely been a whirlwind, very exciting and satisfying being able to stay ahead of the curve and continuously make progress. We attribute this to our creative, brilliant team of people.
Where do you see the company ten years from now?
DH: That’s tough. I could not have guessed we’d be where we are now. Thinking ahead, I’m going to keep my predictions to myself, but suffice it to say, it’s very exciting and no one’s going to see it coming.
Do you have any regrets?
AH: I wish we had more time and started our journey at an earlier stage in our lives. On the other hand, we wouldn’t have had the experience that we had when we started this company.
Well, ten years ago there was no Twitter, for instance.
DH: Exactly. I use those sorts of things as markers. Look at Snapchat. Three years ago, Snapchat was an idea, right? Now they’re turning down three billion dollar buyouts. So, you can never really tell where things are going to move. You have to be ready for anything. The best plan is to plan for change.
We’d like to thank Allison and David for giving us some insight into lotus823’s formation, philosophy, and future. Like the flower from which we take our name, we will continue to blossom, grow, and flourish.